Publicatie datum

The impact of legislative versus non-legislative quality policy in health care: a comparison between two countries.

Sluijs, E.M., Outinen, M., Wagner, C., Liukko, M., Bakker, D.H. de. The impact of legislative versus non-legislative quality policy in health care: a comparison between two countries. Health Policy: 2001, 58(2), 99-119
Download de PDF
An important aim of the government's quality policy is to stimulate quality management (QM) in health care organizations. The relationship between the government's quality policy and QM in health care organizations is unknown. This article explores that relationship by comparing two countries with different quality policies, The Netherlands and Finland. In The Nederlands QM is required by law and health care is organized at national level. In Finland, QM is not required by law and the responsibilities for organizing health care are delegated to the municipalities. The question is whether or not these differences in national policy are reflected in the extent and effectiveness of QM in health care organizations in the two countries. A cross sectional survey was conducted in late 1999. Data about QM in both countries were gathered by questionnaire. The subsectors involved were hospitals, care for the disabled and care for the elderly. A total of 1172 health care organizations participated in the study (response rate 64%). The results show that-in keeping with our hypothesis-slightly more QM-activities and more patient participation were found in Dutch health care organizations compared with the Finnish ones. However, contrary to our expectations, the Finnish organizations reported more perceived effects of their QM-activities. Further analyse showed that some QM-activities are more closely related to the effectiveness of QM than others. In particular, cyclic quality improvement procedures, human resource management and the flexible attitude of employees showed the strongest relationship with the perceived effects of QM. The difference between the national approach in The Netherlands and the decentralized approach in Finland did not, as we had assumed, result in more regional variation in QM in Finland. Conclusion: a government's quality policy may have some influence on the extemt of QM health care organizations. However, more QM-activities do not necessarily imply more effects. Recommendation: since QM-activities differ in the degree to which they bring about changes and improvements in care, it is recommended that policy makers promote those QM-activities, which are the most potent, in order to improve the quality of care. (aut. ref.)